102 Not Out

Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi
Umesh Shukla

Dattatraya (Amitabh Bachchan) is 102, he needs 16 more years to break the record of the Chinese man who lived the longest. But his son is worrying him. Dearest Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) is too stiff-necked for his dad’scolourful ways. While his dad is not averse to living life on the ‘wild’ side, Babulal times his showers and uses his doctor’s prescriptions as the holy grail. It is cute and funny how the two keep bickering with each other, but it is also a little too stretched out. When one of the bickering sessions goes too long, Dattatraya decides that Babulal needs to go. It is decided that Babulal should be put into an old age home. But Babulal is way too proper to let his dad put him in the home for the retired. So, Dattatraya along with their erstwhile handyman (Jimit), make up a list of challenges for Babulal, which he has to abide by in order to reside in their ancestral house.

Babulal has to write a love letter to his deceased wife, he also has to cut all ties with his doctor. The screenplay is laced with ridiculous scenarios coupled with a Gujarati accent (Dattatraya beats Babulal hands down in this department).

However, it being an Indian film, the script starts leaning towards sentimentality and it all eventually ends with the humour dissipating into tears. Why can’t we be frivolous like Dattatraya and be proud of it? Well, Umesh Shukla doesn’t think that’s possible.

What he has done with two greats is nice but it is not phenomenal. And when you have Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor together in a film, it is not supposed to be anything short of mindblowing.

While Bachchan gets his accent correct, it is Rishi who wins the round where performances are concerned. He is fabulous as the grouch and makes Bachchan look rather silly in some parts. You cannot help but compare Bachchan’s Piku with this one and Piku fares much better. Somehow, the humour in the film is too gimmicky and silly. At the age of 102, one would expect a certain finesse in a man’s sense of humour. Dattatraya lacks that. It is his cardboard-like character graph that makes Babulal stand out in the film. However, in the end, it doesn’t matter because the fun ends in a rather uninteresting manner.

So what works in the film? I would say the premise. It is interesting, some families might relate to portions of it and have a smile on their faces.

What doesn’t work is that the film’s trailer held a lot of promise. We were all dying to know what these guys would churn out for us and it turned out to be a damp squib. When you attempt to be different using the fact that there has never been a film about two aged gentlemen in Bollywood, you have to have the guts to see it through to the end. Why did Shukla back off from the challenge? We would like to know!

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